We often need to challenge our garden plantings and layout as they get tired or overgrown. It is a bit like renovating homes - stick with the good bones and refresh the rooms by changing structure, colours, plantings, etc.
Inspiration can be found from garden shows such as Ellerslie
International Flower Show or a bit further a field the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show or even go for broke to the Chelsea Flower Show. If you would prefer to spend the time and money on your garden then you can visit our review of the Ellerslie Flower Show 2013
or browse the internet for a virtual tour of Chelsea.
Closer to home you can visit your local garden tours where you can see what grows well in your area or, better still, invite some gardening friends around and get their critical review. We have always recommended taking time out each season to walk about with pad and pen to record what needs to be 'removed', moved, limbed, topped etc.
As we grow in gardening expertise our tastes change and new plants are introduced that are must haves. There is always something new in gardening!
Practical Gardening Tools
Good garden tools are essential. They can be expensive and should be comfortable to use and do the job. So investing in fewer tools is better than lots of tools which are hard to use. In my essential tools I have a two pronged hand fork for weeding, a hand trowel for planting and a strong pair of secateurs. A large garden fork and spade and pruning saw are also needed. The rest of my tools don't often get an outing but they clutter up the garden shed. If you cannot find what you want in your local shops then search the net - make a wish list for your next birthday! You can check out the retail at the Ellerslie Flower Show.
Microgreens are very trendy. They are herbs and vegetables eaten at the tiny seedling stage, two leaves further from a sprout a week or two from germination. These are great for kids to grow in a seed raising tray or an old flat container or potting mix bag. Interest is maintained as they are quick to germinate and on the table within a couple of weeks.
See our Kids pages for projects.
Books and magazines are also a very valuable source of inspiration. There is no need to spend lots of money. Use your local library, second hand book stores and local garden fetes for second books and magazines. If there is a book you must have put it on your birthday wish list!
See our Book reviews
Ellerslie International Flower Show
Fewer gardens, both exhibition and retail, and a city on the verge of a drought took some off the edge of the 2013 Ellerslie Flower Show. We have some sympathy with the critiques that say no clear theme, not enough punch, too spread out but we saw lots of people sitting happily under the trees or on the seats provided, just enjoying themselves. We've read criticism of the ticket price - though there are not many places where you can get nine hours entertainment for $40. We'd have liked more garden retail outlets - last year's "more" has turned into this year's "less". And we didn't find a garden that knocked our socks off - but we did find plenty to interest and absorb.
See our review Ellerslie Flower Show
Slugs and snails can be devastating on our crops. Commercial baits while very effective can have unintended consequences. Easy low cost options are making a beer trap using an old yogurt pottle with an inch of left over beer and a hole cut in the side for the slugs and snails to enter. Egg shells dried and broken around the base of the plant also act as a deterrent. Then there is the midnight raid when you can go out with a torch and capture them.
R. 'Comtesse du Cayla' R. 'Comtesse du Cayla' is an old China rose that has a wonderful semi-double flower, coral with a touch of yellow at the base, and an absolutely delicious scent, fruity and rich, as you would expect from a rose named for a mistress of Louis XVI. A rather twiggy bush, the Comtesse will flower over a long season from late spring into the winter, longer in mild climates.
The foliage is a good green and the new leaves are reddish. The Comtesse's only fault is that the flowers hang from the slender purplish stems, rather than the modern trend for upward looking blooms. The profusion of richly coloured flowers, the scrumptious fragrance more than make up for this. Great in the flower border where the good foliage and long flowering season make a real contribution.
Plant in good soil in a position with plenty of sun, as she becomes straggly and unkempt in shade, and the Comtesse will exceed the 1.0m (3ft) the books tell you to expect.
Look at the end of a story to share gardening inspiration with others. Tell a friend about your favourite gardening website - click 'Tell a friend' below.
bestgardening.com Especially for New Zealand gardeners - much, much more than a website.
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